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We’ve Got Your Back
By Bobby Bock
Southeast Area Vice President
Any time you attend a NAPS event in the Southeast Area and hear me speak, I always say, “The VMF is your friend.” I have some bias when I make that remark because I work in a vehicle maintenance facility.
Those of us in the VMF system provide outstanding support to Mail Processing and Customer Service operations. I always ask our members to protect the fleet because moving and delivering mail would be impossible without effective vehicle maintenance operations.
The VMF came under the control of Postal Service Headquarters several years ago. Fleet Director Justin Glass is responsible for maintaining the current fleet and coordinating all the new equipment the agency is bringing online to support operations.
The VMF’s mission is to enable world-class delivery by equipping postal centers and drivers with vehicles that provide world-class safety, reliability, comfort and ergonomics. We are rapidly evolving from long-life vehicles (LLVs) to Dodge Ram, Promaster, Ford Transit and Mercedes vans, as well as tractor trailers and box trucks for hauling mail to and in between plants. Coming soon are the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV), with an initial purchase of 50,000 vehicles.
Our auto technicians work on all types of vehicles, from light delivery vehicles to diesel trucks to vehicles used by postal inspectors and postal police. Normally, light-duty vehicles come in for preventive maintenance every six months. Starting in 2023, the VMF system will have a new track-ing system for maintenance called “Telematics.” In the first year of deployment, Telematics will be installed on 120,000 fleet vehicles so we can monitor mileage, fuel usage and other vehicle functions.
We will be able to better protect the fleet through tracking and monitoring our vehicles and better measure their performance and maintenance needs. We will be able to monitor where our vehicles are and, in storms, determine if we need to relocate our assets just as the airlines do when they move planes out of areas with severe storms.
VMF leaders recently returned from a national meeting where all these plans were discussed for rollout. We are moving postal transportation into a new age.
With the Postal Service’s current plans to consolidate delivery operations, this, too, will result in VMF support changing to adapt to having large amounts of vehicles at the same facility. Instead of technicians driving to service one vehicle at a location, we will have the economy of scale to service larger fleets at the same location.
This will reduce technician travel time and increase their productivity. It also will keep more vehicles on the road and provide great customer service we need for our customers.
The VMF will continue to adapt its mission to support internal and external customers. When you have any issues or questions related to your vehicles, don’t hesitate to contact your local VMF manager. The VMF really is your friend.